Pete Seeger Joins BDS – Updated

From Haaretz:

American folk music legend Pete Seeger yesterday officially joined the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign – an international movement to pressure and sanction Israel through economic means.

Seeger, 92, one of the fathers of American folk music, is a veteran political and peace activist. In the 1950s he was interrogated by the McCarthyist House Unamerican Activities Committee and two years ago performed for U.S. President Barack Obama’s inauguration concert.

Seeger has been labelled many things over the years, but after doing a google search, it doesn’t appear anyone has yet called him an anti-Semite. That will soon change.

Those defending the increasingly racist and eliminationist Israeli government, in the face of a tidal wave of revolutions by young people who are aware that the U.S. and Israel have helped suppress their countries’ search for true democracy, as it comes crashing down, will attack Seeger tomorrow. And the next day. But his joining the ranks of people opposed to Israeli apartheid will probably shake the performing arts community more than the defections of such luminaries as his friends Theodore Bikel or Gil Scott-Heron.

Monday, Adam Horowitz covered Seeger’s change of opinion on this matter:

During a January meeting at his Beacon, NY home with representatives from the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) and Adalah-NY, Pete Seeger explained, “I appeared on that virtual rally because for many years I’ve felt that people should talk with people they disagree with. But it ended up looking like I supported the Jewish National Fund. I misunderstood the leaders of the Arava Institute because I didn’t realize to what degree the Jewish National Fund was supporting Arava. Now that I know more, I support the BDS movement as much as I can.”

Jeff Halper, the Coordinator of ICAHD, added, “Pete did extensive research on this. He read historical and current material and spoke to neighbors, friends, and three rabbis before making his decision to support the boycott movement against Israel.” Seeger has for some time given some of the royalties from his famous Bible-based song from the 1960s, “Turn, Turn, Turn,” to ICAHD for their work in rebuilding demolished homes and exposing Israel’s practice of pushing Palestinians in Israel off their land in favor of development of Jewish villages and cities.

The November virtual rally “With Earth and Each Other” was billed as an apolitical effort to bring Israelis and Palestinians together to work for the environment. Dave Lippman from Adalah-NY noted, “Arava’s online event obfuscated basic facts about Israel’s occupation and systematic seizure of land and water from Palestinians. Arava’s partner and funder, the JNF, is notorious for planting forests to hide Palestinian villages demolished by Israel in order to seize their land. Arava was revealed as a sterling practitioner of Israeli government efforts to ‘Rebrand Israel’ through greenwashing and the arts.”

Regarding Seeger’s friend Bikel, Horowitz adds:

Pete Seeger’s long-time colleague Theodore Bikel, an Israeli-American known for his life-long involvement with Israeli culture, recently supported the Israeli artists who have refused to perform in a new concert hall in Ariel, a large illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank.

The times, they are a-changin’. Solidarity may be growing as more young people hope for the planet to be this land – yours and mine, in peace.

Is that such a strange dream??

Update – Tuesday 1:30 pm PST: Late Monday, when I wrote this post, there wasn’t much on the web about Seeger’s decision, except for the Haaretz article quoted at the top, and Adam  Horowitz’s background post at Mondoweiss.  Now the Jewish Telegraph Agency has published a short article, and JPost a more extended one, with comments attached.  Here are selected comments:

Very nice Pete…now it not only LOOKS like you support the people who started 3 wars with the intention of destroying the State of Israel…now we know it’s a fact…

and:

I put all the LP’s and CD’s into “little boxes” and “turned, turned” them into the landfill where they belong.

and:

Wherever he shows his ugly face, people should protest. I will be glad to do so. He deserves no less for his support of terrorism.

and finally:

The man is a male “Jane Fonda” without the looks . No surprises there and who gives damn about him anyway. He is just another anti Viet war “has been”

"Obama's homosexual America!"

 

Washington Times, aka The Moonie Times, opines today about Obama Justice department dropping of the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. 

Jeffery Kuhner in Obama’s homosexual America, tosses a lovely a word-salad of everything bad from Bolsheviks, euthanasia, hippies, and bestiality (of course). He takes a mournful look back at what a Founding Father had to say about teh gays and give us a peek forward down the Pagan path that can lead only to the extinction of the human race!

There are even “transgender scare quotes!”

(more…)

“Obama’s homosexual America!”

 

Washington Times, aka The Moonie Times, opines today about Obama Justice department dropping of the defense of the Defense of Marriage Act. 

Jeffery Kuhner in Obama’s homosexual America, tosses a lovely a word-salad of everything bad from Bolsheviks, euthanasia, hippies, and bestiality (of course). He takes a mournful look back at what a Founding Father had to say about teh gays and give us a peek forward down the Pagan path that can lead only to the extinction of the human race!

There are even “transgender scare quotes!”

(more…)

'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes' star Jane Russell passes away

R.I.P Jane…Marilyn was the blonde, but Jane was the sassy, sexy, buxom brunette.

Jane Russell, whose voluptuous good looks won the attention of millionaire Howard Hughes and launched her on a movie career, died Monday of respiratory failure at her home in Santa Maria, Calif. She was 89.

Generally cast in fluff films like 1943’s The Outlaw that showed off her well-endowed beauty, Russell reached the pinnacle of her career with Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), starring in the comedy with Marilyn Monroe.

And one of her most (in)famous numbers, from Gentleman Prefer Blondes (1953) — “Ain’t There Anyone Here for Love?” Director Howard Hawks couldn’t have conceived a more homoerotic setpiece under the Hays Code.

And I love the opening number from Gentleman Prefer Blondes – “Two Little Girls From Little Rock“.  I am a complete sucker for the gorgeous, completely overadorned, overworked costumes they wear here (probably because I wish I had the figure to rock them, lol). The 1930s-50s — what an era for Hollywood wardrobe design!

If you’re from my generation, you probably first saw Russell as the spokesperson for Playtex bras in the late 60s/early 70s – before you could actually see a woman in a brassiere on TV – they always showed the “boulder holder” on a mannequin or with the model wearing the bra under clothes. (more…)

Israeli Apartheid Rolls Along

Today, the UN’s OCHA-OPT released it’s latest report on the plight of the Palestinians…

Violence between Palestinians and Israeli settlers in the West Bank appears to be worsening, say UN agencies, NGOs, and the Israeli and Palestinian communities living there.

An increased number of Palestinian civilians have been injured and had property or land damaged in incidents involving Israeli settlers living in the West Bank since the start of 2011, reports the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Meanwhile, a systematic lack of law enforcement against settlers by Israeli authorities is being reported by Israeli and Palestinian NGOs and Palestinian victims.

Israeli NGO Yesh-Din says nine out 10 investigations of Israeli attacks against Palestinians are closed, with no indictment served, according to a 16 February data sheet on its monitoring of police investigations of a variety of offences.

However, only a fraction of the actual number of incidents are reported, says Yesh Din, as many Palestinians do not feel comfortable dealing with the Israeli police.

Five settler-related incidents in the West Bank resulted in Palestinian injury and property damage on 9-15 February, according to OCHA, including a 17-year-old boy who was allegedly shot by Israelis settlers from a neighbouring outpost while walking from his farm to his home in Jalud village, Nablus Governorate.

Since the beginning of 2011, settlers have killed two Palestinian teenage boys and injured another 14 in various incidents, says OCHA. […]

“Price-tag” policy

UN Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory Max Gaylord told IRIN the recent spike in settler violence could be related to the “price-tag” policy.

This pattern of violence, named by Israeli settlers as the “price tag” strategy, emerged during 2008, in which “groups of settlers would exact a `price’ against Palestinians and their property in response to attempts by the Israeli authorities to dismantle `unauthorized’ settlement outposts,” according to OCHA. [12 pg. PDF]

When linked to the Israeli occupation, settler violence can be a mechanism of displacement, said Gaylord, and “the pattern of bringing settlers to justice is not reassuring.” […]

Dual system of law

Sarit Michaeli, spokesperson for Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem, said there is a dual system of law in the occupied territory.

“Palestinians are under Israeli military rule and Israeli settlers are under Israeli’s civilian court system, which provides benefits and protection,” said Michaeli.

Menachem Klein, political scientist at Israel’s Bar-Ilan University, said Israeli society’s perception of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has shifted from a border conflict to an ethnic conflict.

“The land grab is an expression of a greater struggle. The settlers want the Jewish people to own the land and to limit the Arab/Palestinian presence,” said Klein.

“The current Israeli government is the result of society’s shift towards an ethnocentric state,” he said.

Israel’s February 2009 legislative council elections led to a coalition agreement between Benjamin Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party and far-right Yisrael Beitenu, led by Avigdor Lieberman, known to support the settlement movement.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights began monitoring settler violence in the West Bank in 2009, and it remains one of their priorities as lead of the “protection cluster”.

According to OCHA, there were 87 Israeli-settler related incidents leading to Palestinian casualties in 2010, and eight in January 2011; and 240 incidents leading to Palestinian property/land damage in 2010, and 21 in January 2011.

There were 33 Israeli-settler related incidents leading to Israeli casualties in 2010 and one in January 2011; and 83 incidents leading to Israeli property/land damage in 2010 and none in January 2011.

In this month’s spike, OCHA has documented seven settler-related incidents between February 16-22, resulting in the injury of two Palestinians and damage to property – typically olive trees – on which many households depend for income. Israeli settlers also entered Burin village in Nablus governorate and stoned Palestinian-plated vehicles, setting one on fire.

The Israeli police were unable to verify these figures upon IRIN’s request.

(As reported by the humanitarian news and analysis service, IRIN)

Two recent Settler related events…

Medics: Hebron girl hit by settler car… In which, an Israeli settler ran down an 11-year-old girl in his car on Sunday near the Beit Ainun junction in Hebron, medics said.

Settlers fire-bomb Palestinian home in Nablus

Settlers set fire to a Palestinian home on Monday, injuring two children, and attacked Palestinian cars around Nablus, officials said.

Settlers threw Molotov cocktails at homes in Huwara village, setting fire to the home of Rabi Taha As-Sebty, said Palestinian Authority settlement affairs official Ghassan Doughlas.

Why is it that it’s always the children that pay the heaviest price…?

Now, despite an Oscar win yesterday…

Documentary on Tel Aviv school, ‘Strangers No More,’ wins Oscar

The movie tells the tale of the children from 48 different countries who attend the Bialik-Rogozin School, many of whom have escaped genocide, war and hunger to arrive in Israel.

That very school is in jeopardy as the Grey Lady notes…

Migrants in Israel Face Uncertainty, Despite Oscar

…The school, which is state-supported, caters to the children of migrant workers and refugees from 48 countries. For many of them it is a safe haven from daily hardships and, in some cases, traumatic pasts.

Although the American-made documentary, “Strangers No More,” celebrates the school’s atmosphere of diversity and tolerance as it tries to integrate the children into Israeli life, there is an ominous subtext to the story that was not explored in the movie. Of the school’s 828 pupils, ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade, 120 are facing deportation with their families because they do not meet government criteria for obtaining legal status.

Despite all the school’s attention from the Oscar, Israel’s Interior Ministry said Monday that the government’s preparations for dealing with the children of illegal residents were in their final stages and that the plan would be carried out in the coming weeks.

Recently, Knesset debates bill to abolish the status of Arabic as an official language in Israel…

Now, in a startling turn of events, Bibi announced today…

Israel vows to raze all illegal outposts built on private Palestinian land

The decision, which will be submitted to the High Court of Justice in response to 15 petitions demanding the outposts’ demolition, will apply to at least three outposts inhabited by about 100 families.

The government will immediately dismantle all illegal settlement outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian land, with the sole exception of the house owned by slain Israel Defense Forces officer Eliraz Peretz, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided yesterday in consultation with the defense minister and the attorney general.

The decision, which will be submitted to the High Court of Justice in response to 15 petitions demanding the outposts’ demolition, will apply to at least three outposts inhabited by about 100 families.

Now, that is only baby steps in the process, in the right direction mind you, but, the backlash was immediate and swift…

Police clash with rightists protesting in Jerusalem over West Bank outpost demolition

Settlers clash with Israeli police, roads closed

Hundreds of angered Israeli settlers gathered in the Nablus region Monday, prompting road closures to prevent attacks on Palestinian drivers on the Nablus-Qalqiliya road, and the Jit-Flefleh road.

The closures stopped movement between dozens of villages, and the nearby city centers and followed the dismantling of two buildings in an illegal Jewish-only outpost near the Havat Gilad settlement.

Bibi must be feeling the International heat, but, he has an even tougher row to hoe with his main constituency…!

One can only hope peace and justice will prevail…!

What’s wrong with this thought?

E.J. Dionne, while discussing the Wisconsin conflict, asserted that:

It’s said that this fight is all about partisanship — and it’s true that Walker’s proposal is tougher on the most Democratic-leaning public-employee unions than on the ones more sympathetic to Republicans.

But this goes beyond partisanship. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which swept away decades of restrictions on corporate spending to influence elections, has already tilted the political playing field toward the country’s most formidable business interests. Eviscerating the power of the unions would make Republicans and Democrats alike more dependent than ever on rich and powerful interests and undercut the countervailing strength of working people who, as those Kohler workers know, already have enough problems.

Even critics of public-employee unions should be able to recognize a power grab when they see one.

The key problem here, as I see it, is one of timing. Labor in the United States today hardly stands as a countervailing power to the power available to American capital and its political allies. Union membership as of 1.2011 amounts to 11.9% of the workforce, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Only 6.9% of private sector workers belong to a union while a mere 36.2% of America’s public sector workers belong to a union. Simply put, a fraction of America’s economic and political elite had already broken the union movement before Scott Walker put his name on the 2010 Wisconsin ballot. It used the Stagflation Crisis of the 1970-80s as a pretext on which to make a public assault on America’s unions. The AFL-CIO’s 1981 Solidarity March failed to intimidate the Reagan faction of the GOP or to embolden the remnants of the New Deal Coalition who cared about the fate of America’s working class. And it is because organized labor lacked the power to defeat the Reaganite onslaught of the 1980s that it ceased to provide a base from which sympathetic Democrats could contest the rightward drift of the American political elite.

The Democratic Party already depends upon and prefers the help it gets from big capital. Organized labor may have a seat at the big table, but it literally pays dearly for the meager results it gets for its money. One need only to consider the fact that both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama supported the horrible Blanche Lincoln in the 2010 Arkansas primary, and gave her this support even though a Lincoln nomination would only produce a defeat in November. Moreover, Obama’s election along with his very disappointing tenure as President supports nothing else but the conclusion that the leaders of the Democratic Party belong to the FIRE sector of the economy. In fact, one can measure Obama’s labor sympathies by the fight he made in support of the Employee Free Choice Act while President.

As for my take on Wisconsin: What we are seeing in Madison today is not organized labor fighting a state politician and his party in defense of the right of some workers to collectively bargain with the State of Wisconsin. Nor, for that matter, is the conflict a local instance of the national Democrats making a stand on behalf of its base. What we are seeing instead is a troubled part of American society defending itself against the predatory practices of a social and political system dominated by big capital, its money and its political allies. What about the legacy parties in Washington? As we know, they are already spoken for by their well-heeled friends. At least some Democratic Senators of the Wisconsin Senate had the nerve to flee to Illinois, thus saving the Party from colluding once more with the Republicans. That is far more than one could reasonably expect from the national Democrats.

Cross-posted at All Tied Up and Nowhere to Go